Dos and Don’ts of Infant Nutrition

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Infants require adequate nourishment and the best way of ensuring this is through breastfeeding, which is vital for your baby’s lifelong health and wellbeing. An infant must derive nutrition in the first six months only through breastfeeding in order to attain the best possible results of healthy development and growth. Later, an infant can gradually be introduced to safe and adequate complementary foods to reach nutritional goals. A mother can continue to nurse her child as well as feed him/her suitable substitutes available in the market or prepared at home for up to two years of age, and sometimes longer if required.

If a mother is lactating well, she should breastfeed her child as long as possible as it results in the child building a stronger immunity. However, in some cases where the mother is unable to lactate enough to satisfy the infant’s hunger and nutritional requirements, she can always rely on substitutes available. Fresh food made at home is always a better substitute for breast milk than readymade packaged food.

Being a new mother can be quite an overwhelming and a stressful experience. However, it is very important to maintain a good diet as this affects the quality of breast milk you feed your infant. You must ensure that you eat a well-balanced diet that contains plenty of vegetables and fruits, which are excellent sources of fibre, as well as beans, meat and whole grain foods that have high levels of protein. You must also drink plenty of water to stay hydrated. Daily doses of calcium intake in the form of milk and other dairy products are essential for a woman who is breastfeeding. You can also consult your doctor for nutritional supplements.

During pregnancy and while breastfeeding, it is crucial that a woman must go for regular medical checkups and not self-prescribe any medication without the knowledge of her doctor. If your doctor has prescribed any medicine or nutritional supplements, you must consume these diligently.

As time passes, you will learn the likes and dislikes of your infant, and you should stay away from the foods that make your baby uncomfortable.

You may find it difficult to supply milk as and when your baby demands it and that is completely normal. Studies show that when a mother begins to recognize her baby’s ‘I am hungry’ cry, she automatically begins to lactate. It may help to record that particular cry and hear it during breast pumping if you’ve chosen to go this route. This technique has proven to be very popular especially amongst working mothers, who are not always present to breastfeed their young ones. It is also important for mothers to know that it is okay to fall asleep while feeding your baby. Infants have the tendency to fall asleep during feeding, and so do mothers. It is essential that new mothers, who are usually sleep deprived, get their fair share of sleep, and breastfeeding can sometimes be an excellent time to do so. It is also the most natural way of building a bond with your child.